Australians still among worst polluters on planet: report

Sydney, 15 July 2008

Australia’s climate change credentials rank poorly against other developed countries with Australians still among the highest greenhouse gas polluters per capita on the planet, according to a report released in Australia today that compares the greenhouse emissions performance of the world’s richest countries.

The report by independent consultancy Ecofys, commissioned by leading environmental organisation WWF and international financial services leader, Allianz, contains climate change scorecards for the world’s leading economies, including Australia, and ranks each country’s performance on a range of emissions-related criteria such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the development of carbon markets.

The report reflects the lack of progress made by the world’s richest countries, revealing that none of the world’s industrialised nations are on track to make the emissions reductions required to keep the planet below two degrees of warming.

“The world’s wealthiest nations have a responsibility to be high achievers in the race against climate change. They need to be role models and lead the way towards a low carbon, clean energy economy," said WWF-Australia CEO Greg Bourne.

“Australia’s overall poor result indicates that the Government has some tough decisions ahead of it, not least of all in relation to the design of an emissions trading scheme, if it wants to raise Australia’s overall climate change performance.”

Terry Towell, Managing Director of Allianz Australia, said the insurance industry has already started adapting to the effects of climate change on extreme weather events.

“For insurers, the effects of climate change have been apparent for some time - 85% of the largest 40 natural catastrophes occurred between 1988 and 2006. Moreover, average insured losses have increased tenfold from an average of around $US3 billion per annum in the early 1970s to an average of around $US30 billion per annum since 2000.

“Allianz research estimates that global insured damage from such events will rise further to an average of $US41 billion per annum over the period 2010-19.

“There is an urgent need for a new global agreement to establish a framework of international emissions reductions post the current Kyoto targets if we are to stop these trends worsening.”

The international community has 10 to 15 years in which global emissions have to peak and decline, and a binding global emissions reduction pact is urgently required to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

WWF– is simply referred to as WWF or WWF, the conservation organisation.

View the Climate Change Scorecard - Australia
View the G8 Climate Change Scorecards

For more information:

Charlie Stevens, WWF Press Office, 02 8202 1242, 0407 204 594
Nicholas Scofield, Allianz Australia, 02 9390 6596, 0416 088 414

Allianz Australia

Best General Insurance Company 2006*
Best General Insurance Company 2007*

The Allianz Australia Group operates in Australia and New Zealand. It is one of Australia’s largest general insurers, a leading private workers’ compensation insurer, and also provides life insurance.

Allianz Australia delivers a wide range of personal, commercial and corporate insurance products and services. AAL is proud to be of service to more than 2 million policy holders and over 50% of Australia’s top 200 BRW listed companies have some form of insurance cover with the group.

Allianz Australia offers a wide range of insurance products and services including car insurance, home insurance and Life insurance.

Allianz Australia has approximately 3300 staff. In 2007, the company achieved a gross written premium exceeding AU$2.4 billion and investment assets of approximately AU$5.5 billion. Allianz Australia Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of the worldwide Allianz Group, one of the world’s largest financial services companies.
Greenhouse Challenge Plus
Allianz’s commitment to social, environmental and economic sustainability has been acknowledged internationally by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which recognised Allianz as the most sustainable general insurer in the world in 2007. In Australia, Allianz is a member of the Greenhouse Challenge Plus program, which is a cooperative partnership between industry and the Australian Government that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.